Whether you’re traveling across the globe or headed out on a quick weekend getaway, a thoughtfully designed travel pack can help you stay comfortable and organized while on the move. Key considerations include carry-on compatibility for air travel, enough capacity to stash your belongings, pack weight, and preferences on storage and organizational layouts. Below we break down the best travel backpacks of 2024, ranging from minimalist options for a couple nights away to larger bags with removable daypacks for extended trips. For more background information, see our detailed comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
 


Our Team's Top Travel Backpack Picks



Best Overall Travel Backpack

1. Cotopaxi Allpa 35L ($200)

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L travel backpackCapacity: 35L
Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 8 in.
Weight: 3 lb. 8 oz.
Other sizes: 28, 42L
What we like: Very tough, well-executed organization, and fun styling.
What we don’t: No load lifters, water bottle storage, or exterior compression straps.

When compiling our list of the best travel packs, we prioritized functional organization, easy on-the-go access, durable materials, and carry-on compatibility. Cotopaxi’s Allpa 35L Travel Pack checks all those boxes emphatically, earning it our top spot for 2024. Along with the vibrant styling and multi-colored patterning that the brand is known for, the Allpa is exceptionally durable with a mix of 1,000-denier, TPU-coated polyester and panels of 840-denier ballistic nylon. In use, we found the Allpa to be remarkably tough and highly water-resistant, and the pack also comes with a stowable rain cover for truly inclement weather. We also love the dual access to the main compartment, including a full wraparound zipper and secondary side zip next to the backpanel for easily retrieving items while on the move. And the electronics sleeve is big enough to handle both a laptop and tablet at the same time, which isn’t often the case. Overall, the Allpa is well made, stylish, and very nicely appointed for travel.

What’s not to like with the Cotopaxi Allpa? While the 35-liter variation here is nicely sized for long weekend trips or shorter getaways abroad, it’s smaller than competitors like the Peak Design Travel Backpack, Osprey Sojourn Porter 46, and many other carry-on-friendly designs below (Cotopaxi does sell a larger 42L version for $220 that still meets most airline requirements). Further, while overall carrying comfort is good, there are no load-lifter straps to bring the pack closer to your body. Additionally, the interior pockets are a little awkwardly sized, and the lack of external compression straps makes it hard to secure bulkier loads. A final omission is water bottle storage, although it’s not a critical feature for most and does little to dampen our enthusiasm for an otherwise well-rounded and great-looking bag.
See the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

 

A Close Second (That's Great for Carrying Electronics)

2. Peak Design Travel Backpack ($300)

Peak Design Travel BackpackCapacity: 45L
Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 9.5 in.
Weight: 4 lb. 8 oz.
Other size: 30L
What we like: Easy to access, expandable design, and thoughtful feature set.
What we don’t: Expensive, a little heavy, and too techy for some.

Peak Design’s Travel Backpack may look relatively unassuming on the outside, but don’t be fooled: This bag is packed with thoughtful travel-ready features. First is the expandable design, which allows you to alternate between 35 and 45 liters by simply zipping or unzipping the frontmost zipper. Access is another highlight, including entry points at the top, side, front, and rear for easily retrieving items pretty much anywhere in the pack. Storage is also excellent with padded laptop and tablet sleeves, a divisible main compartment, large and stretchy dual side pockets (not common on travel packs), and multiple interior pockets. And it’s all wrapped up in a thick nylon canvas shell that’s durable, streamlined, and very modern.

What complaints do we have about the Peak Design Travel Backpack? Price is the most glaring downside: At $300, it’s one of the most expensive designs on our list (only topped by the $350 Tortuga Travel Backpack and Matador GlobeRider45 below). And while the bag is undeniably sleek, it’s pretty utilitarian-looking and less everyday-friendly than more vibrant options like the Cotopaxi Allpa above and Topo Designs Global Travel Bag below. It’s also on the heavy end at 4 pounds 8 ounces, which isn’t unreasonable but does add considerable heft compared to many competitors. Finally, the Travel Backpack is technically not carry-on compliant when expanded, measuring 22 x 13 x 11 inches (the standard U.S. domestic carry-on limit is 22 x 14 x 9 in.). But it works at the compressed 35-liter size (or smaller 30L option), and photographers in particular will love the shape, which nicely accommodates multiple camera cubes, lenses, and other accessories.
See the Peak Design Travel Backpack

 

Excellent Carrying Comfort for Gear-Intensive Trips

3. Osprey Sojourn Porter 46 L ($195)

Osprey Sojourn Porter 46L travel packCapacity: 46L
Dimensions: 18 x 15.75 x 12.2 in.
Weight: 3 lb. 7.2 oz.
Other sizes: 30, 65L
What we like: Practical, generous storage, and purpose-built for adventure travel.
What we don’t: We wish there were a women's-specific variation.

Osprey is a leader in the backpacking pack market, and much of that technology and expertise has trickled down nicely into their travel pack collection. The Sojourn Porter 46 L is case in point, combining the impressive carrying comfort that the brand is known for with a practical, carry-on-friendly build and feature set for travel. Starting at the outside, you get a rigid foam backpanel with well-cushioned shoulder and hipbelt straps that feel reminiscent of Osprey’s backpacking designs, a handy compression system to effectively cinch things down, lockable zippers for the main compartment, and a beefy side handle for hauling the pack duffel-style. The inside is a similar story with ample pockets of varying sizes, compressions traps to keep clothes tidy, and padded sidewalls to help protect valuables during travel.

Despite offering 11 more liters of capacity than our top-ranked Cotopaxi Allpa 35L (for $5 less), the Sojourn Porter 46 L is still carry-on compliant, making it the largest option here that still meets most domestic and international airline restrictions. It’s also impressively sturdy and durable and includes reinforced cord loops to attach to Osprey's Daylite or Farpoint/Fairview daypacks (sold separately). We do wish Osprey offered the design in a women’s version for those with smaller torso and waist measurements, but the unisex sizing is standard in the travel market (their Farpoint/Fairview below is one of the few models to come in a separate women’s version). In the end, if it fits you well, the Sojourn Porter offers a hard-to-beat mix of capacity, features, and comfort for the price, making it our favorite option for longer, gear-intensive adventures.
See the Osprey Sojourn Porter 46 L

 

Best Weekend Travel Backpack

4. Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L ($199)

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L travel backpackCapacity: 30L
Dimensions: 20 x 12.5 x 7 in.
Weight: 2 lb. 10 oz.
Other size: 40L
What we like: Seemingly limitless organization, stylish, and very thick materials in a weekend-friendly capacity.
What we don’t: Complex build and straps could be a little more cushioned.

Topo Designs flies a little under the radar compared to well-known brands like Cotopaxi and Osprey, but don’t let that deter you: This company makes exceptionally built and good-looking packs for everything from commuting and travel to more technical pursuits like biking and climbing. Their Global Travel Bag 30L here is a shining example and our favorite weekend-ready design of the year. What immediately stood out about this pack was the sheer number of pockets and attachment points, from the vertical daisy chain webbing on the front to the expandable side water bottle pockets, ample zippered storage inside and out, a laptop sleeve along the backpanel, and several interior mesh pockets. Like the Cotopaxi Allpa above, the Global Travel Bag is also well equipped for rough use, including a mix of 1,000- and 1,680-denier ballistic nylon that gives the pack a noticeably burly, confidence-inspiring feel—at a very manageable 2 pounds 10 ounces to boot.

That said, the extensive feature set does add some complexity when it comes to organization. We like the big clamshell opening to the main compartment, but we had to reorganize to make everything fit into the various compartments (they're optimized for Topo Designs' Pack Bags, which are smaller than our standard packing cubes). The tall and slim shape is also best suited for clothing rather than bulky gear, which may be limiting for outdoor adventures that involve camping or backpacking. We also wished there were a little more padding along the shoulder straps and hipbelt while walking through airports with the pack stuffed full, but it distributed the load pretty well (and the hipbelt can be tucked away when not in use). In the end, no pack is perfect, but the Global Travel Bag 30L is a well-built, durable, and stylish option for overnights, short weekend getaways, and even minimalist adventures abroad. For those embarking on longer trips, it’s also sold in a larger 40-liter variation for $229.
See the Topo Designs Travel Bag 30L

 

Best Budget Travel Backpack

5. Amazon Basics Carry-On Travel Backpack ($40)

Amazon Basics Carry-On Travel BackpackCapacity: 40L
Dimensions: 21.5 x 15.75 x 8.25 in.
Weight: 3 lb. 10.2 oz.
Other sizes: None
What we like: Good capacity and organization for far less than the competition.
What we don’t: Lacking in padding and support for shuttling heavy loads; no lockable zippers.

Travel packs are an expensive bunch, but Amazon makes an affordable but still surprisingly capable option in their Carry-On Travel Backpack. We’ll start with the good news: As its name implies, the bag is carry-on compliant, and it comes with most of the standard features we look for in a practical travel pack. These include a zippered laptop sleeve, internal and external compression straps, easy-access pockets for travel documents, and good organization in the main compartment. Like the Peak Design Travel Backpack above, the Amazon Basics can also be expanded to boost packing space while still meeting carry-on restrictions. And at just around $40 at the time of publishing (colorways vary on Amazon), the 40-liter Carry-On Travel Backpack is a great value for what you get, undercutting most similarly sized models on this list by $100 or more.

Now for the bad news: This Amazon Basics pack is far less capable than many of the picks here for shuttling a full load. The shoulder straps are lightly padded, while the hipbelt is a thin and basic webbing design that won’t feel comfortable under the weight of a full pack. The rest of the design has a cheaper feel, too, including a shiny and dated-looking exterior, a lot of plastic (read: breakable) components, and standard, non-lockable zippers. You don’t get dedicated water bottle storage either, which isn’t a necessary feature but certainly is nice to have. But if you’re an occasional traveler and aren’t yet ready to make a more sizable investment, the Amazon Basics pack is a perfectly serviceable entry-level option at a great price. For another capable budget design that comes with packing cubes and lots of colorway options, we also like Asenlin’s 40L Travel Backpack.
See the Amazon Basics Carry-On Travel Backpack

 

Best High-Capacity Travel Pack for Long Trips

6. Osprey Farpoint 70 ($230)

Osprey Farpoint 70 travel packCapacity: 70L
Dimensions: 25.6 x 15 x 12.6 in.
Weight: 5 lb. 6.6 oz.
Other sizes: 40, 55, 80L
What we like: Massive capacity with a removable and functional 15-liter daypack.
What we don’t: Doesn’t meet carry-on size requirements; the heaviest option on our list.

The packs above are great for vacationers and travelers headed out for a week or two, but those embarking on longer and/or gear-heavy trips abroad will almost certainly need more storage and capacity. Enter Osprey’s Farpoint 70, which comes with a 15-liter daypack that can be attached to the front to maximize capacity or used separately for around-town adventures once you reach your destination (Note: The travel pack itself is 55L). Importantly, both come well appointed: The daypack boasts a dedicated tablet/hydration sleeve and water bottle pockets, while the main pack has great cushioning along the straps and backpanel (it’s an Osprey, after all), a well-ventilated backpanel, easy access via the large front panel, and an adjustable torso system for dialing in a good fit. It's all wrapped up in a thoughtful and sustainable package, including recycled and bluesign-approved fabrics, along with a dedicated women's version called the Fairview.

All that said, there’s one glaring downside to opting for a larger-capacity design like the Osprey Farpoint 70: It doesn’t meet most carry-on size requirements. For reference, the standard domestic carry-on limit within the U.S. is 22 x 14 x 9 inches, while the Farpoint measures 25.6 x 15 x 12.6. Another complaint is that the daypack obscures the pack’s main compartment when attached, making it tedious to access your belongings. Even so, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more versatile and comfortable system for less (the daypack is a $65 investment on its own), making the Farpoint 70 our favorite high-capacity pick of the year. It’s also available in a larger 80-liter version, as well as smaller 40- and 55-liter capacities, although only the Farpoint 55 and 70 include the detachable daypack. 
See the Osprey Farpoint 70  See the Women's Osprey Fairview 70

 

Best of the Rest

7. Eagle Creek Tour 40L ($159)

Eagle Creek Tour 40LCapacity: 40L
Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.13 x 8.75 in.
Weight: 2 lb. 10 oz.
Other size: 55L
What we like: Functional organization inside and out, offered in two sizes, and competitively light.
What we don’t: Not a standout in durability or looks; no pass-through sleeve for attaching to rolling luggage.

Eagle Creek first started making packs in the mid 1970s, and their Tour 40L travel pack reflects that longstanding history in the market. From the get-go, we were immediately impressed by its highly practical design. The bag has great exterior storage, including a stretchy side water bottle pocket and expansion zipper for 5 liters of additional capacity in the main compartment. Additionally, the book-style opening provides quick access to the contents of the bag, and interior and exterior compression straps make it easy to snug things down. We also appreciate that it comes in two torso sizes (S/M and M/L) for maximizing fit, which is uncommon in the travel pack market and a really nice plus at this price point. And the cherry on top: The Tour checks in at a very competitive 2 pounds 10 ounces, which is tied with Topo Designs’ 10-liter-smaller Global Travel Bag above as the lightest on our list.

Other notable features on the Eagle Creek Tour 40L include side and top grab handles for easy loading and carrying, an integrated rain cover that stows away at the bottom and doubles as a backpanel cover if you check the bag, puncture-resistant and lockable zippers that are easy to operate even with gloves, and good overall carrying comfort. It’s not the toughest design out there—the water bottle pocket started to fray on our pack after just one trip—but uses durable 600-denier polyester elsewhere and is reasonably hardwearing overall. Final nitpicks include no pass-through sleeve for securing to a suitcase and a fairly bland exterior (plus, it's currently only offered in a single black colorway), but those do little to detract from the Tour’s otherwise well-rounded build. 
See the Eagle Creek Tour 40L

 

8. Gregory Border Carry-On 40 ($190)

Gregory Border Carry-On 40 travel packCapacity: 40L
Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 in.
Weight: 2 lb. 14.9 oz.
Other sizes: 18, 25, 30L
What we like: Very comfortable to carry and separate compartment for dirty clothes.
What we don’t: Split-case design limits storage space; less durable than the Osprey packs above.

Like Osprey, Gregory is a leader in the hiking and backpacking markets, and their Border Carry-On 40 retains many of their well-loved technical features in a travel-friendly design. The big news here is the pack’s split-case design, which creates two distinct areas within the main compartment accessed via one large, clamshell-style opening. On one side, a zippered mesh panel with added zippered storage and compression straps keeps your clothing and some accessories organized, while an odor-resistant “ActiveShield” compartment at the opposite side effectively separates dirty clothes. As expected from Gregory, carrying comfort is also great with good adjustability at the sternum, a well-cushioned backpanel, and thick straps. You don’t get load lifters for bringing the pack closer to your body, but we didn’t have any issues, even when running through the Montreal airport to a connecting flight en route to Patagonia.

That said, the Gregory Border Carry-On’s split-case design does have a noteworthy pitfall: With both compartments zipped, storage feels pretty limited. Unzipping the larger mesh panel does help maximize space (especially when stuffing the pack to the brim), but it also defeats the purpose of the dual compartments. Compared to the competition, the Border also uses thinner materials than Osprey’s Sojourn Porter and Farpoint offerings, although the rest of the feature set stacks up similarly. In the end, it’s another comfortable and well-built travel pack, and the split-case design has its merits for those who pack light.
See the Gregory Border Carry-On 40

 

9. Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L ($350)

Tortuga Travel Backpack 40LCapacity: 40L
Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.8 x 7.9 in.
Weight: 4 lb. 8 oz.
Other size: 30L
What we like: All the features we look for in a quality, well-rounded travel pack.
What we don’t: Heavy and tied for the most expensive design here.

Travel packs are a dime a dozen in 2024, but Tortuga’s Travel Backpack 40L—which replaced their Outbreaker 35L—stands out as one of the most well-appointed and thoughtfully built options on the market. Organization is a clear highlight, including a large front pocket with several sleeves for divvying up small valuables and documents, a convenient clamshell-style opening with zippered compartments for separating clothes and shoes, and padded laptop and tablet sleeves with zippered mesh pockets at the other side for storing cords and accessories. Rounding out the feature set are easy-to-access water bottle pockets that can fit most standard-mouth bottles (our wide-mouth Hydro Flask was too big), zippered hipbelt storage that can accommodate a smartphone and passport, and lockable, water-resistant zippers. Finally, the design is well padded with thick cushioning along the backpanel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt, which is fairly uncommon among travel-specific brands. 

It's worth noting that the Tortuga Travel Backpack has a slightly more streamlined storage layout than its predecessor, although you do get an additional 5 liters of capacity and a bump in usable space. However, the Tortuga is no featherweight at 4 pounds 8 ounces, which is a notable downside for long treks through the airport and around town. It’s also tied with Matador’s GlobeRider below as the priciest on our list at a steep $350. On the bright side, Tortuga does offer a lifetime warranty against defects, and they will repair/replace the pack or refund your money if a replacement isn't available. All told, it’s a nice dose of added assurance and helps justify the steep price, but the hefty build and lack of value push the Tortuga slightly down in our rankings. For another well-executed design with all the requisite travel features, check out Aer’s Travel Pack 3, which is cheaper at $249 but 5 liters smaller and doesn’t include a hipbelt with purchase.
See the Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L

 

10. Yeti Crossroads 35L Backpack ($250)

Yeti Crossroads 35L travel packCapacity: 35L
Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 8 in.
Weight: 3 lb. 14.4 oz.
Other sizes: 22, 27L
What we like: High-end Yeti construction and top-notch durability.
What we don’t: Expensive and heavy for the capacity; webbing hipbelt detracts from overall comfort.

Yeti's coolers and insulated drinkware are their bread and butter, but the focus on premium craftsmanship doesn’t end there. On the travel side, their Crossroads 35L Backpack is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the brand: excellent durability and functionality in a modern package. The body of the pack is made with Yeti's tough and confidence-inspiring TuffSkin nylon (which was inspired by motorcycle gear), while the PU-coated base adds a nice dose of assurance when setting it down. All of the other components have an equally durable and supportive feel, from the foam-heavy shoulder straps to the thick, protective backpanel. It’s all wrapped up in a sleek and streamlined design that’s offered in a nice selection of colorways, from bright Nordic Purple (shown in the photo here) to subdued Alpine Brown.

Yeti clearly put a lot of thought into the outside of the Crossroads, but the interior is well executed, too. The clamshell opening folds back to reveal a pocket-equipped mesh panel and generous main compartment that still can be accessed when wearing the pack. You also get dedicated storage for a water bottle and laptop, as well as a pass-through sleeve for securing to a roller bag. Our biggest gripe is the lack of padding: The detachable hipbelt is made of thin webbing and doesn’t offer much support, and the shoulder straps and backpanel have a noticeably thick and rigid feel, which is great for durability but detracts from overall comfort. And as with most Yeti products, the pack isn’t particularly cheap or light at $250 and nearly 4 pounds. Finally, the 35-liter Crossroads is on the smaller side and will require precise packing to fit more than about three to five days’ worth of belongings. But again, build quality is top-notch, and minimalists used to packing light may not mind the small sacrifices in comfort and storage.
See the Yeti Crossroads 35L Backpack

 

11. Matador GlobeRider45 ($350)

Matador GlobeRider45 travel packCapacity: 45L
Dimensions: 22 x 12.8 x 11 in.
Weight: 4 lb. 8 oz.
Other sizes: None
What we like: Backpacking pack-like comfort and support with excellent organization for travel.
What we don’t: Arguably overbuilt and overpriced for the average traveler.

Matador may lack the name recognition of brands like Osprey and Cotopaxi, but don’t let that fool you: This Boulder-based upstart is quickly growing thanks to their outside-the-box thinking. From their travel collection, the new GlobeRider45 stands out as a very intentionally built design that spares no expense in terms of features. In addition to being on the larger end, the carry-on-compliant GlobeRider offers solid comfort and support with good padding along the straps and backpanel, a light but sturdy aluminum frame stay, and a well-executed suspension system that’s reminiscent of a backpacking pack. Organization also abounds with a large external stash pocket, thoughtfully designed electronics pockets, vertical daisy chain webbing, and a practical interior layout that includes a packing cube-like space on one side and open clothing storage on the other. All told, it's an intriguing new pack that does a great job merging the utility of both backpacking and travel designs.

It's worth noting that we previously had Matador’s cheaper and lighter Seg45 ranked here, which boasts a unique segmented design that allows you to customize organization by day or activity. When unzipped, the five compartments at the front of the pack reveal independent (and stowable) storage cube-like areas for clothes and other soft items, while the main compartment below provides added space for dirty clothes, shoes, and other bulkier gear. While innovative, however, the Seg45 falls well short of the GlobeRider in carrying comfort, which is largely a result of the thin webbing hipbelt and lack of frame. The pocket-heavy exterior also made it hard for us to remember where we put certain items and detracts from the amount of usable space inside the main compartment. Both packs are arguably overbuilt for infrequent travelers, but the GlobeRider stands out as the more balanced option for those willing to splurge.
See the Matador GlobeRider45

 

12. Thule Aion Travel Pack ($200)

Thule Aion Travel PackCapacity: 40L
Dimensions: 20.5 x 13 x 9.1 in.
Weight: 3 lb. 3 oz.
Other size: 28L
What we like: Premium build quality; removable rolltop bag is handy for dirty clothes.
What we don’t: Hipbelt sold separately.

Swedish brand Thule is best known for their bike and roof racks, but they make sneaky-good packs, too. Our favorite in their collection this year is the 40-liter Aion, which combines the premium build quality that Thule is known for with a nice assortment of travel-ready features. One unique—but very functional—addition is the removable TPU rolltop bag for stashing dirty laundry, which prevents odors and dirt from making their way to the rest of your belongings. The rest of the design is nicely appointed, including dedicated water bottle storage, an easy-to-access clamshell opening, plenty of zippered spaces for electronics and valuables (including a padded laptop/tablet sleeve), internal compressions straps to keep items secure and tidy, lockable zippers, and carry-on-compliant dimensions. 

What pushes the Thule Aion down to a mid-pack finish? At this price point and capacity, we’re surprised to see that the bag doesn’t come with a hipbelt. You can purchase Thule’s compatible Aion sling bag separately, which can pull double-duty for around-town use, but it’s a fairly expensive addition at $50 (and a feature we consider critical for a pack of this size). To be fair, the rest of the build is very well executed, including a noticeably thick and robust 600-denier waxed canvas shell and PFC-free DWR coating for fending off moisture. If you don’t mind the added investment for the waist belt/sling bag, it’s a promising design with competitive specs to match. Of note, if you’re looking for something a little different for travel, the Aion collection also includes a roller bag and a 35-liter duffel.
See the Thule Aion Travel Pack

 

13. Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 ($280)

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 travel backpackCapacity: 45L
Dimensions: 21.7 x 13 x 7.9 in.
Weight: 4 lb. 4.8 oz.
Other sizes: 35L
What we like: Anti-theft technology and cut-resistant fabrics add a nice dose of assurance.
What we don’t: Pricey and prioritizes safety features over carrying comfort.

Travel can be an exhausting endeavor, especially if you’re constantly worried about your luggage or valuables getting stolen. That’s why anti-theft designs like Pacsafe’s Venturesafe EXP45 are becoming increasingly common, particularly for international trips. Like most of Pacsafe’s offerings, the Venturesafe EXP45 is packed with protective features, from cut-resistant materials to lockable and puncture-resistant double zippers and built-in stainless steel cable locks. Importantly, these are nicely integrated and don’t detract too heavily from the Venturesafe’s functionality as a travel pack—it’s still well organized with ample interior and exterior pockets and compression straps, offers multiple carry options, and is carry-on compliant.

All that said, the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 is a pretty niche design that prioritizes safety over things like carrying comfort and access. The pack is on the heavier end at over 4 pounds due to all of the protective features, the handles are underbuilt for carrying as a suitcase, the padding along the shoulder straps and hipbelt is noticeably firm (albeit decently thick), and there are no load-lifter straps to pull the pack closer to your body while on the move. Another downside is that the laptop sleeve is positioned at the front of the bag—we prefer when heavier items are situated close to the back for better weight distribution—and accessing items here can be difficult due to the half-length zipper design (we wish it had a clamshell opening like the main compartment). In other words, comfort- and convenience-focused travelers will likely want to look elsewhere, but the Pacsafe has its place for those who prioritize safety and security.
See the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45

 

14. Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L ($239)

Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L travel packCapacity: 45L
Dimensions: 22 x 14.5 x 7.6 in.
Weight: 3 lb. 10 oz.
Other size: 30L
What we like: Highly durable, looks good, and well-executed backpanel storage.
What we don’t: Lacking in structure and carrying comfort.

Patagonia’s Black Hole is legendary in the world of duffel bags, and the MLC 45L travel pack variation shares that bag’s excellent durability and good looks in a more organized and carry-on-friendly design. Like the duffels, the Black Hole pack is made of strong (and recycled) polyester ripstop that’s highly tear-resistant with a TPU film on the exterior for fending off precipitation. Importantly, however, the travel focus is clear: You get three carrying options (backpack, over-the-shoulder, or briefcase-style), compatibility with a roller bag, and a generously sized opening with two separate chambers for customizing organization. We also love the backpanel design, which comprises sleeves at one side for a laptop and tablet with zippered and drop-in pockets at the other for divvying up cords and accessories.

Why do we rank the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L here? The most glaring downside is carrying comfort: The Black Hole doesn’t have a particularly rigid structure, which can lead to sagging if not packed properly and detracts heavily from overall support and protection for fragile items. On the bright side, Patagonia did address a past gripe of ours by equipping the latest model with a stowable hipbelt, but those with smaller frames may still find it a little bulky and cumbersome to haul around (regardless of which carry option you choose). Finally, you miss out on lockable zippers, which are a small but thoughtful touch for added peace of mind while traveling. These drawbacks are enough for us to push the Patagonia pack toward the bottom of our list, but Black Hole fanatics who travel frequently certainly have a lot to be excited about. Of note: Patagonia also offers the smaller Mini MLC 30L that’s great for commutes, daily use, and as a secondary bag for travel, but it’s out of stock at the time of publishing.
See the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L

 

15. Nomatic Travel Bag 40L ($290)

Nomatic Travel Bag 40LCapacity: 40L
Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 9 in.
Weight: 3 lb. 6.7 oz.
Other size: 30L
What we like: Almost all the features we look for in a thoughtfully built travel pack.
What we don’t: Expensive and overbuilt for quick getaways.

Many of the picks above are built by reputable backpacking manufacturers, but Nomatic is a travel company first. Their Travel Bag 40L embodies that focus, combining thoughtful organization and storage with easy access in a sleek and minimalist package. Feature highlights include a customizable strap design that allows you to easily alternate between backpack and duffel carry, dedicated compartments for shoes and clothing at the top and bottom of the bag, and even a mesh laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate during travel. We also love the exterior pocket at the right side, which opens wide for easy access and features an array of mesh, fleece-lined, and zippered spots to organize electronics and cords, along with an RFID pocket for passports and other scannable documents. All told, it’s clear that Nomatic put a ton of thought into the design. 

It’s worth noting that Nomatic offers another intriguing option in their Navigator, although we consider the Travel Bag the more competitive all-around design. In parsing out the differences, the Travel Bag costs $110 less and is lighter by nearly 2 pounds, although it forgoes the Navigator’s expandable main compartment that allows you to alternate between 32 and 41 liters depending on your storage needs. The Navigator also includes load lifter straps and a sculpted foam backpanel for a boost in carrying comfort, but the Travel Bag is no slouch. And from a features perspective, we appreciate the Travel Bag’s dirty shoe compartment and included laundry bag. Neither design comes cheap, but if you’re willing to make the investment, both Nomatic packs stand out for their intentional organizational layouts and travel-ready feature sets.
See the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L

 

16. Mystery Ranch Mission Rover 45 ($249)

Mystery Ranch Rover 45 travel packCapacity: 45L
Dimensions: 21 x 13 x 12 in.
Weight: 4 lb. 4.8 oz.
Other sizes: 30, 60+L
What we like: Robust fabrics, multiple carry options, and nicely divided interior.
What we don’t: A little heavy and pricey for what you get.

Along with Osprey’s Sojourn Porter 46 above, Mystery Ranch’s Mission Rover 45 is a great option for those of us who aren’t particularly adept at packing light. Touted as a “workhorse gear hauler,” the Mission Rover offers three functional carry options (as a suitcase, shoulder bag, or standard backpack), has a well-organized main compartment with zippered dividers and a wraparound clamshell opening, and even includes separate areas for shoes and dirty laundry. As expected at this price point, you also get most of the standard travel-ready features that we look for, including a stowable hipbelt, lockable zippers, a sleeve to secure to a rolling suitcase, and a padded laptop space that can accommodate computers up to 15 inches wide. Finally, like many of Mystery Ranch's backpacking offerings, the Mission Rover has a premium feel with a thick nylon exterior and water-resistant YKK zippers.

However, as with the Pacsafe Venturesafe above, the Mission Rover’s laptop sleeve is situated at the front of the pack, which detracts from carrying comfort and convenience. The Mystery Ranch is also on the heavier and pricier end of the spectrum at 4 pounds 4.8 ounces and $249, although the 45-liter capacity is undeniably generous (and the pack is still compliant with most carry-on size restrictions). Finally, the bag is relatively dated-looking and lacking in modern appeal compared to offerings from Topo Designs, Peak Design, Cotopaxi, and others above. In other words, the Mission Rover doesn’t stand out in any one area (hence our ranking), but it’s another durable travel pack with a nicely executed feature set.
See the Mystery Ranch Mission Rover 45

 

Travel Backpack Comparison Table

Travel Pack Price Capacity Dimensions Weight Carry on?* Other sizes
Cotopaxi Allpa 35L $200 35L 20 x 12 x 8 in. 3 lb. 8 oz. Yes 28, 42L
Peak Design Travel Pack $300 45L 22 x 13 x 9.5 in. 4 lb. 8 oz. Yes 30L
Osprey Sojourn Porter 46 L $195 46L 18 x 15.75 x 12.2 in. 3 lb. 7.2 oz. Yes 30, 65L
Topo Global Travel Bag 30L $199 30L 20 x 12.5 x 7 in. 2 lb. 10 oz. Yes 40L
Amazon Basics Carry-On $40 40L 21.5 x 15.75 x 8.25 in. 3 lb. 10 oz. Yes None
Osprey Farpoint 70 $230 70L 25.6 x 15 x 12.6 in. 5 lb. 6.6 oz. No 40, 55, 80L
Eagle Creek Tour 40L $159 40L 20.5 x 13.13 x 8.75 in. 2 lb. 10 oz. Yes 55L
Gregory Border Carry-On 40 $190 40L 22 x 14 x 9 in. 2 lb. 15 oz. Yes 18, 25, 30L
Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L $350 40L 21.7 x 13.8 x 7.9 in. 4 lb. 8 oz. Yes 30L
Yeti Crossroads 35L Backpack $250 35L 20 x 13 x 8 in. 3 lb. 14 oz. Yes 22, 27L
Matador GlobeRider45 $350 45L 22 x 12.8 x 11 in. 4 lb. 8 oz. Yes None
Thule Aion Travel Pack $200 40L 20.5 x 13 x 9.1 in. 3 lb. 3 oz. Yes 28L
Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 $280 45L 21.7 x 13 x 7.9 in. 4 lb. 5 oz. Yes 35L
Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L $239 45L 22 x 14.5 x 7.6 in. 3 lb. 10 oz. Yes 30L
Nomatic Travel Bag 40L $290 40L 21 x 14 x 9 in. 3 lb. 7 oz. Yes 30L
Mystery Ranch Mission Rover 45 $249 45L 21 x 13 x 12 in. 4 lb. 5 oz. Yes 30, 60+L

*Editor's note: "Carry-on" refers to whether or not each pack meets standard domestic and international air travel restrictions, which must be under 22 x 14 x 9 inches or 45 linear inches when adding L+W+H.

 

Travel Backpack Buying Advice


Size and Capacity

The first question to answer when choosing a travel pack is how much capacity you anticipate needing. For reference, the options above range from 30 liters on the small end (the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag) all the way up to 70 liters for the Osprey Farpoint 70 (with the 15L daypack attached). Most travelers will land on something in the middle, with the sweet spot for many being in the 40- to 45-liter range—it’s no coincidence that well over half of the models above fall into this grouping, which is largely due to their carry-on-compliant dimensions. 

Travel backpacks (lineup on the ground)
A lineup of some of our favorite travel packs

In general, we’ve found that packs of this size can easily accommodate a week or two of clothing, toiletries, and other travel accessories (and even more if you pack light). For reference, we had no issues fitting 14 days’ worth of belongings into the 40-liter version of Topo Designs’ Global Travel Bag on a recent trip to Patagonia. If you stick to weekend adventures, you can keep things lighter and more compact (and save some cash in the process) by opting for the smaller, 30-liter variation. On the flip side, those embarking on longer expeditions abroad might need to step up to a larger design like the Osprey Farpoint 70 or 80 (at the sacrifice of carry-on compatibility).

Travel backpack (interior of the Eagle Creek Tour 40L)
Packs in the 40 to 45L range like the Eagle Creek Tour are great for one to two weeks away

Travel Backpack Dimensions

Dimensions are a crucial consideration for most travelers, and especially those headed abroad. With that in mind, we’ve listed the length, width, and height measurements for each travel pack above both in the write-ups and in our comparison table. As you may notice, similarly sized travel packs don’t vary too considerably in terms of dimensions. This is mainly due to carry-on size restrictions, which we break down more in depth below.

Carry-on Size Restrictions
Right off the bat, we’ll note that there is technically no standardized size requirement for carry-on luggage domestically or abroad. That said, the universally accepted dimensions within the U.S. are 22 x 14 x 9 inches or 45 linear inches when adding L+W+H. We’ve indicated whether each travel pack above meets these requirements in our comparison table, and REI Co-op does the same on each of their product pages. The only exception above is the Osprey Farpoint 70, which measures 25.6 x 15 x 12.6 inches.

Travel backpack (walking through airport)
Carry-on compatibility is a key consideration for many travelers

It’s also important to call out expandable models here like the Peak Design Travel Backpack, which is carry-on compliant when compressed to 35 liters (22 x 13 x 9.5 in.) but not when expanded to its maximum 45-liter capacity (22 x 13 x 11 in.). You may be able to get away with carrying these bags onboard, but don’t count on it, especially if you’re traveling during peak season to a popular destination. When in doubt, you can always check with your airline ahead of time.
 

Organization: Pockets and Main Compartment Access

All of the packs above are purpose-built for travel with extensive organizational layouts and thoughtfully placed pockets for separating valuables, electronics, and other accessories. That said, some layouts are more functional than others, and a final decision will largely come down to your intended use and what works best for the items that you plan to bring along. For instance, sleek options like the Peak Design Travel Backpack and Nomatic Travel Bag are great for digital nomads and remote workers who need to organize a lot of electronics, while backpacking-inspired designs like Osprey’s Farpoint and Sojourn Porter offerings have fewer tech-focused features but work great for adventure travel. We break down some of the key organizational components below, from laptop and tablet sleeves to water bottle storage and pack opening styles.

Travel backpack (backpanel layout inside Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45)
The Patagonia Black Hole MLC's backpanel is great for divvying up electronics, cords, and accessories

Laptop and Tablet Sleeves
Laptop storage is a requisite feature in a travel pack, and all of the picks above come with a dedicated spot to stash larger electronics. In terms of dimensions, most sleeves can accommodate up to a 15-inch laptop, and many come with separate smaller compartments in the same space for a tablet, too. This area is typically well padded to protect electronics and positioned along the backpanel for the best access and weight distribution (keeping heavier items closest to your back will help maximize comfort and balance). A couple exceptions to this rule are the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 and Mystery Ranch Mission Rover 45, both of which have the laptop sleeve at the front of the pack and can feel a little less well balanced with heavier electronics situated farther away from your body.

Travel backpack (pulling laptop out of the Cotopaxi Allpa)
We prefer when the laptop sleeve is positioned near the backpanel

Water Bottle Pockets
Unlike laptop sleeves, side water bottle pockets aren’t a standard feature on travel packs. Some models that include them are the Topo Designs Global Travel Pack, Peak Design Travel Backpack, Osprey Farpoint 70 (on its removable daypack), Eagle Creek Tour, and Thule Aion, while the Cotopaxi Allpa and Amazon Basics Carry-On leave them out. And it’s worth noting that the Farpoint’s removable daypack is also compatible with a hydration reservoir, including a sleeve and access ports at either side for a tube (Note: This area on the daypack doubles as the laptop sleeve). 

Travel backpack (YETI Crossroads 35L water bottle pocket)
We love the Yeti Crossroads 35L's stretchy, zippered water bottle pocket 

Opening Styles and Access
Easy access is a hallmark of a good travel backpack. The clamshell-style opening is far and away the most popular design and for good reason: With the pack laid flat, you can easily see and access the entirety of the main compartment. Some backpack-inspired designs, like Osprey's Sojourn Porter 46 and Farpoint 70, utilize generous U-zip designs instead, which are pretty functional but make it a little harder to reach contents at the very bottom of the bags. Finally, it's important to note that some bags come with multiple access points: The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L, for instance, includes both a full wraparound zipper and “shortcut” side zip next to the backpanel for easily retrieving items while on the move.

Travel backpack (organizing clothing in the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L)
Clamshell-style openings offer comprehensive access to the main compartment

Carrying Comfort

Comfort can be somewhat subjective, but a few features help certain travel packs stand out from the rest of the market. Typically, the most comfortable designs boast shoulder straps and hipbelts with thick padding and good adjustability for dialing in fit. Sternum and load-lifter straps can also be very helpful in effectively distributing a heavy load. One brand that stands out in this area is Osprey, which makes sense given their expertise in the backpacking pack market. One of our favorite options for shuttling heavy loads over long distances is Osprey Sojourn Porter 46, which features thick cushioning and good adjustability at the shoulders and waist belt and comes with load lifters for bringing the weight closer to your back.

Travel backpack (revealing shoulder straps and hipbelt)
Packs that carry comfortably typically have generous padding at the shoulder straps and waist belt

On the flip side, models without hipbelts are generally the least comfortable, especially when wearing them for extended stretches. From the list above, only the Thule Aoin doesn’t come with one, although their Aion Sling Bag (sold separately for $50) can be attached to serve as a hipbelt. Thin webbing designs—like what you get with the Amazon Basics Carry-On and Yeti Crossroads—aren’t much better, providing very little support and structure for keeping the weight of the pack on your hips (rather than your back). If you plan to be walking long distances with your pack through airports or city streets, we consider a well-padded waist belt a critical feature and worth the added investment. 

Travel backpack (standing at bus station with Cotopaxi Allpa)
A well-cushioned hipbelt can go a long way in maximizing support and all-day comfort

Grab Handles and Alternate Carry Methods

The models above are designed to be worn on your back as backpacks, but many travelers appreciate the ability to carry their pack suitcase-style or over the shoulder. These options are especially helpful when standing in line to check in at the airport or retrieve travel documents. For instance, the Peak Design Travel Backpack boasts 360-degree grab handles that make it quick and easy to take the pack off and carry it one-handed through security checkpoints or narrow airplane aisles. Designs like the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L also come with detachable straps for shoulder carry, which can be helpful when you need to access items inside but want to keep the pack off the ground and remain hands-free. Finally, many of the offerings here can be secured to a roller bag via pass-through sleeves, which we cover more below.

Travel backpacks (different ways to carry)
We love when packs come with alternate carry methods

Other Travel Pack Features

In addition to pockets and electronics sleeves, there are a few other features specific to travel packs that are worth having on your radar. Lockable zippers are fairly standard at the mid to upper end of the market (budget designs like the Amazon Basics Carry-On Travel Backpack forgo them), as are removable and/or stowable straps and compression straps or dividers to keep things tidy in the main compartment. As is common with backpacking models, some travel packs also come with built-in rain covers that stow away when not in use, including Cotopaxi’s Allpa 35L and Eagle Creek’s Tour 40L. Finally, many will appreciate the ability to attach their travel pack directly to a rolling suitcase via a pass-through handle or sleeve (like what you get with Yeti Crossroads 35L and many others above).

Travel backpack (lockable zippers on Eagle Creek Tour)
Lockable zippers add a nice dose of assurance during travel

Construction and Durability

Given the inherently rough nature of travel, all of the packs above are well built and hardwearing enough to withstand frequent use. That said, some are certainly more durable than others, and looking at denier (a measurement of fabric thickness) can help differentiate between models. For instance, the Gregory Border Carry-On 40 is pretty average with a mix of 210- and 450-denier (D) materials, while the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L is one of the thickest and most abrasion-resistant options on our list with a combination of 1,000D polyester and 840D ballistic nylon (Topo Designs' Global Travel Bag uses a similar combo but with 1,000D nylon and 1,680D ballistic nylon). Pacsafe’s Venturesafe EXP45 is another standout, with stainless steel wire mesh built into the 400D nylon body to guard against theft. At the thinner end, Matador’s GlobeRider45 uses a mix of mostly 100 and 420D fabrics, although the nylon body is coated with a PU laminate to boost weather and abrasion resistance, and Matador included reinforcements in high-wear areas.

Travel backpack (closeup of Topo Designs Global Travel Bag exterior)
Topo Designs' Global Travel bag is remarkably durable with very thick nylon throughout

Other durability-related additions to keep an eye out for are thick padding along the interior to promote structure and protect your belongings, weather-resistant details like YKK zippers and DWR coatings on the outside to fend off precipitation, and thicker materials at the base to help protect the pack when you set it down. And we should note here that cost often correlates pretty closely with overall quality. In other words, a budget pack like the Amazon Basics Carry-On Travel Backpack feels noticeably cheaper than most other options above and will likely wear down far more quickly. If you’re a frequent traveler, it’s almost certainly worth investing in a pricier and more premium option that will last.

Travel backpack (YETI Crossroads 35L backpanel)
The Yeti Crossroads' thick, rigid backpanel inspires confidence when setting the pack down

Weight

The weight spread isn’t huge among travel pack designs, but even a 1-pound difference may still be noticeable during long treks across town or the airport. For reference, the lightest options on our list are Eagle Creek’s Tour 40L and Topo Designs’ Global Travel Bag 30L (both 2 lb. 10 oz.), while the Osprey Farpoint 70 is the heaviest at 5 pounds 6.6 ounces. Most models fall somewhere in the middle, with the majority of 40- to 45-liter designs hovering somewhere between 3 and 4.5 pounds. In the end, weight won’t be a primary consideration for many travelers, but those backpacking through Europe or expecting to cover serious ground will probably want to shop toward the lighter end.

Travel backpack (ordering coffee with Cotopaxi Allpa 35L
Cotopaxi's Allpa 35L checks in at a manageable 3 pounds 8 ounces

Fit and Sizing

Unlike their backpacking pack counterparts, travel packs are most often only offered in a single unisex option. This can make it difficult to dial in fit, especially for those with particularly narrow or broad builds. One exception above is the Eagle Creek Tour 40L, which is offered in both S/M and M/L torso sizes, while a couple others (which we cover below) are sold in dedicated women’s models for better customizing fit. Regardless of which option you choose, we always recommend trying on multiple packs before buying to see which fits you best (or at least purchasing from a reputable manufacturer with a generous return policy). You’ll want to be sure that you can adjust the shoulder straps and waist belt to be snug around your torso and waist. Sternum straps and load lifters can also be helpful for bringing the load closer to your back to maximize comfort and weight distribution.

Travel backpacks (walking around El Chalten with Matador%2C YETI%2C and Patagonia packs)
It's important to make sure you can get a good all-around fit

Women’s-Specific Travel Backpacks

As we mentioned above, most travel packs are unisex by design. In fact, only one model on our list is offered in a dedicated women’s-specific version: the Osprey Fairview (the Farpoint’s counterpart). Key differences include varying colorways, minor weight variations, and slightly smaller torso and waist measurements. The Fairview also has more contoured shoulder straps and a curved hipbelt to better conform to narrower torsos/shoulders and larger hips, although the packs share an otherwise identical overall construction and feature set. Regardless of designation, we always recommend choosing the pack that fits you best.

Travel packs (sitting at bus station)
Most travel packs are unisex, which can make it harder for some women to dial in fit

Sustainability

In 2024, it’s pretty common to see pack manufacturers incorporating eco-friendly practices into production, including measures like recycled and bluesign-approved fabrics and PFAS/PFC-free DWR coatings. A couple examples include Pacsafe’s Venturesafe EXP45, which uses polyester that's made from recycled water bottles and other plastics, and Patagonia’s Black Hole MLC 45L, which uses recycled and bluesign-approved (i.e., environmentally safe) polyester and is certified to the Fair Trade standard. A final feature to look out for is a PFC-free DWR coating, which forgoes the use of per- or polyfluorinated chemicals—"forever chemicals" known to be harmful to the environment. With many states stepping up to ban the sale of items that include PFCs, the outdoor industry is seeking better solutions for water- and stain-resistant finishes (for more, you can read about Patagonia’s take on the issue).

Travel backpack (Gregory Border Carry-On 40 closeup)
The Gregory Border Carry-On 40 uses recycled polyester and a PFC-free DWR finish

AnchorPacking Cubes and Other Accessories

Packing your travel pack can often feel like playing a hard game of Tetris, especially for those of us who aren’t great at traveling light (this author included). To help, many of the brands above offer compatible accessories for their packs, from packing cubes to protective hard cases for electronics and more. Importantly, these add-ons are often modular and fit neatly into the main compartment of a compatible backpack. Some of our favorites include Topo Designs’ Pack Bags, Peak Design’s Packing Cubes and Tech Pouches, and Eagle Creek’s Pack-It compression cubes. In the end, these accessories aren't a necessary purchase for many travelers (and you certainly don't need to buy them from the same manufacturer as your pack), but they can go a long way toward maximizing organization and space and streamlining your load.


Do You Need a Travel Backpack?

The packs above make it easy and comfortable to shuttle your belongings across the globe, but not everyone needs a specialized design for travel. Duffel bags are another popular way to fly with a lot of clothing and gear, and many modern designs come with deployable backpack straps for more easily hauling through airports and around urban areas. However, duffels lack the impressive assortment of dedicated storage compartments and pockets for items like keys, passports, and electronics, are generally less comfortable to carry over long distances, and often don’t meet carry-on size requirements.

Travel backpacks (duffel bags alternative)
Duffel bags are a viable (albeit often less convenient) alternative to travel backpacks

Alternatively, some travelers may opt to use a standard backpacking pack. This can make a lot of sense when you’re traveling to hike, backpack, or embark on other adventures and plan to use your pack both for travel and for outdoor use when you arrive. Again, however, the lack of travel-specific features and organization options can make it harder to effectively divvy up your belongings. In the end, if you plan to fly domestically or abroad with any regularity (more than a couple times a year), we think most will find the investment in a dedicated travel pack worth it.
Back to Our Top Travel Backpack Picks  Back to Our Travel Pack Comparison Table

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